Status: Starting over



Memories from one of two familiar dreams came over me whenever I closed my eyes at night. One was a series of images and feelings associated with my boyfriend’s death last year. I could remember the funeral, his infidelity, my broken promises, and the good memories that we made together. When I woke up all the feelings associated with those memories came to me: happiness, sadness, remorse, and hurt.

The second dream always began in the woods, I was running from something chilling behind me. I didn’t know what it was and I’d never seen it in any of my dreams, but I always knew I had to run. I ran until my legs ached, my heart burned, and the breath was knocked out of me. I ran until I was absolutely exhausted, I stopped behind a tree and waited till I heard the growling and the hands covering my body. When I woke all I could feel was fear.

I lay on my bed, with my feet prompted on the wall in front of me as I drift off in thought and get lost in my own head. My best friend calls me from my daydream and urges me to get out of bed, “Come on, we can’t be late for class again, your mother will have my head.” She taps my forehead with her long fingernail as she passes me, walking out the dorm room.

I swung my legs to the side of the bed and stand up, straightening my dark uniform and smoothing my hair from the rough linen of my bed. I grab my backpack from the floor and smile at Angel, she returns the gesture and closes our room door behind us. We head down the hall and out the building towards where classes are held. Brighton was a co-ed boarding school that my mother was the headmaster of. It was convenient and annoying to have my mother around all the time.

“How was therapy last night? Any essential declaration of your sins?” Angel chuckles at her own joke but looks at me sincerely. We walk into the building, dodging students wearing similar colored uniforms. The halls were noisy and busy with the talk of the first week of classes for the year.

I let out a long exasperated sigh, I never want to talk about my appointments, much less actually want to attend them. “It was therapy, same old same old, we stared at each other. I talked, she talked, I came back, saw mom and you know the rest.” Angel nodded and threw her books on the desk once we arrived to our first period.

The tattoos on her arm showed under the short sleeves of her shirt as she made quick movements to slide in the seat of her desk. Angel tugged at her long skirt, hiking it a few inches and then straightening her white polo, “Ugh, I hate these long skirts, they make me look like a nun,” I laugh, looking at the knee length black wool. Every year I urge my mother to at least change uniform styles, polos never looked good on anyone. However, uniforms would only be my biggest concern for another year, then I’d have to deal with the real world.

Angel and I had been best friends since kindergarten, we were as close as sisters. Still, I was reluctant to talk to her about therapy, or talk to her about it at all. I felt as if I were a burden, whining to her about my problems. I knew my best friend would always be there for me, but I didn’t want to worry her more than I already had, the previous year was too much of a mess. Instead of confiding in her I ended up pushing her away more than I’ve meant to.

The bell rung for class to start and handful of kids rushd in who were waiting outside the room for the last minute to take their seats. A friend of ours walks in, half his white shirt tucked in and his dark slacks wrinkled. Similar to Angel he bore a few tattoos on his arms and chest, and his wavy hair was messy and partially slicked back. He flashes a bright smile at us and takes a seat next to me.

“It’s good to see you Xavier, considering that you skipped the first three days of school and arrive late to class,” Angel rolls her eyes and blushes at the cute boy she’s had a crush on since arriving here at Brighton Boarding School.

Xavier winked back at her, proceeding to tuck in his loose shirt and getting situated in his seat. “I was preparing to see you babe. I spent a few more days on the beach, getting golden and toned just how you like,” Xavier says cockily. Angel sticks her tongue out at him and faces forward in her seat.

Xavier and Angel had been somewhat involved for years, yet neither of them were willing to take the first official move. Between the two it was just constant flirting and bickering, it wouldn’t be long before they killed one another or just started making out. I suspected that Xavier held off making them official because he was afraid of commitment, or he just loved making Angel frustrated.

The teacher stood from her seat behind the computer desk, “Class, we have a new student who just joined Brighton this morning. Trevor Diamond, please stand up and introduce yourself.”

An attractive blond curly haired male stood up at the front of the room, he smiled awkwardly at the class and let out a little wave. “Um, my name is Trevor Diamond, I just moved here. Yeah,” he quickly sat back down at his seat. Angel looked at me and wiggled her eyebrows. It wasn’t a secret that he was incredibly handsome, my face grew hot when I saw his piercing blue eyes across the room.

As soon as the new student sat down whispers erupted from the others in the room. New students didn’t arrive here very often, it wasn’t common for people to join a boarding school, especially during their last year of high school. The teacher urged the students to quiet down, and began with her lesson for the day.

“Wow, a new student,” Angel leaned over to me, “This is going to be an interesting year.”

I leaned toward her, resting my chin in my hand. “Maybe you should introduce yourself,” I said, smiling at her, “Ask him on a date.” I knew the statement would heat Xavier up, he was a jealous man, even if he hadn’t been officially with Angel. If he wanted to run my best friend in circles, I’d made fun out of it by getting him as flustered as possible.

Xavier leaned in next to us, “Do it and you’re a dead woman, Angel Daniels.” We both smiled and snickered at him, it was so cute to see him jealous. Xavier was the typical bad boy, hot, irresistible, and constantly in some type of trouble. His playboy attitude was problematic, but he was still a friend. He was never with another girl in the four years he yearned after Angel, but he never made any effort either.

“Miss Shannon Matthews, is there a problem back there?” The teacher inquired, giving us a look behind her shoulder and pushing her glasses down her nose.

It wasn’t uncommon for me to get in trouble more than my friends since they knew I was so closely associated with my mother. Yet, Angel and Xavier still exceeded me in the troublemaking category. “No, not at all Mrs. C. We were just talking about math, of course.” The teacher let out a scuff and continued writing on the whiteboard.

The new kid, Trevor, turns to look at my friends and I. We lock eyes across the room and he smiles back at me. I don’t smile back but feel the hairs on the back of my neck stand up and butterflies begin to erupt in my stomach. I roll my eyes and look away as I begin to copy the notes on the board.

Classes continued throughout the day, I went to all my six classes, dreading each one after the other. It wasn’t much of a tedious afternoon, more so of getting to know each others and what was expected of us throughout the year. The new kid was in two more of my classes, while a few of my friends were in the others. Angel and I were in our first and last classes together every year we attended Brighton, meaning there wasn’t much room for us to be apart. It didn’t bother me much since we already roomed together all four years, and I wanted more than now to spend more time with my friends as school was ending.

Lunch here was typically at the end of the day after classes. It made it so that students could leave early for the weekend or go back to their dorms instead of heading to the dining hall. However, there were never many people in the cafeteria, people always opted to make their own meals in the communal kitchens. Today I noticed a surplus of students that attended the dining hall, all chatting loudly and talking about their summers.

Angel and I walked around the cafeteria with our trays balancing on our books as we searched for our friends in the sea of familiar looking students. Once we located them at a table in the corner Xavier waved us over, pointing to the two seats reserved for us.

Coming up to the table I noticed all my good friends sitting there. Although, there was another head at the table with their back towards us sitting near Xavier. “Hey guys!” Jameson, a mousy brown haired boy with thick rimmed glasses, greeted us, “This is-”

Jamie was cut off by Angel, “My seat, excuse me new kid.” The new kid, Trevor, who had introduced himself in first period stood up and quickly took another seat. He muttered an apology as Angel took her seat near Xavier.

“Don’t mind Angel, she can be a tad rude and abrasive,” I said, taking my seat wedged between two of my other friends. “I’m Shannon, but you can call me Shay or Shan if you’d like, most people do. The rude one over there is Angel.” Angel tilted her head and smiled sarcastically before turning her attention to her food.

I shifted in my seat, swallowing hard and instantly feeling heat radiating across my body. I looked at Trevor, he was definitely jaw droppingly attractive. If I wasn’t so afraid of another heartbreak I would be all over him. Though, sitting here and looking at him gave me an unsettling feeling, making goosebumps appear on my arms and sent a chill up my spine. I blinked away the awkward thoughts.

Trevor replied back with a smile, “It’s nice to meet all of you. Thank you for letting me sit here, it’s hard coming to a new school, especially a boarding school where everyone has known each other since they were kids.”

The blonde girl at the table nodded her head, “Tell me about it, sometimes I wish I didn’t even know half these people here. They all drive me crazy, especially those two there,” Emma said pointing to Xavier and Angel. The two replied by simultaneously flipping her off.

I agreed, I knew nearly everyone at the school. Yet, I kept my group of friends relatively small, confined to who was sitting here at this table. Besides Angel and Xavier there was Jameson, Gavin, Emma, and Julie. Emma and Julie were identical twins, the only thing separating the two was Emma's natural blonde locks and Julie's dyed dark hair, besides that Julie was more quiet than Emma. Jameson and Gavin were polar opposites of each other. Gavin had his dark olive skin, Native American roots, and was heavily involved in sports. While Jameson was involved in fashion and movies. Nevertheless, the two were best friends, paired along with Xavier.

“So Trevor,” Emma started, “tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? What do you like? All the cool boring details.” She shoved food in her mouth, almost getting her spaghetti on my shoulder. I gave her a glare and she returned with a little shrug.

“There’s not much about me,” Trevor laughed, “I’m from England, but I’ve bounced around places a lot. I’ve lived here in North Carolina on and off since I was young, which mentions the lack of accent.”

“Wow,” Gavin mumbled sarcastically, “England, how fancy.” Sometimes I swear that jock attitude took over from that sweet boy I really knew. Gavin and I were almost as close as Angel and I were. The only difference was I hadn’t known Gavin as long as I had known Angel, and I pushed him away more than any of my other friends.

Jameson scoffed, “Really, don’t take anything to heart that these people say, Gavin is actually a big teddy bear.” Jamie smiles at Gavin, causing him to roll his eyes. “England! How cool, tell us more.”

As Trevor started to say more about his time in England, around the UK and all the other amazing places he lived, I looked around the cafeteria. I noticed once again that there were a lot more people in the dining hall today than any other day I could remember. Perhaps it was because it was the first week of school. However, I noticed a number of people whispering and directing their attention toward our table.

I quickly looked at my friends and then at myself self consciously. Then I realized, of course, they were looking at Trevor, the mysterious new kid. It was usually never a good call when someone came to a boarding school on their last year of high school. I predicted that everyone wanted to know why he came, and who exactly he was.

Right on cue, I spotted a tall gorgeous blonde heading toward our table, a person I hardly ever wanted to make interactions with. I turned back in my seat and put my head in my hands, leaning my elbow on the table, “Here comes the wicked witch of the East.” The anxiety starts building up in my chest and I turn to my food in order to avoid her at all costs.

I heard the familiar heels clacking, and smelt the strong toxic stench of Chanel number five. “Dear God, what do you want Rachel?” Angel said. Rachel was the school’s it girl, she was one of those girls who were constantly climbing the social ladder and trying to be on top. Rachel and I hadn’t gotten along for years, we were never friends, but what happened last year made it even worse. The only good thing about leaving high school would be to never see her again.

“I just wanted to introduce myself to the new kid. Goodness Angel, where are your manners?” Rachel scoffed and extended her hand towards the blond boy sitting next to me, “I’m Rachel Sullivan,” Trevor introduced himself in return, “I just wanted to come and say hi. If you ever don’t feel comfortable sitting here with these losers we have plenty of room over at my table.”

Emma began to stand up, almost giving her a piece of her mind. Julie put her hand on her sisters, urging her to sit down. The girl wasn’t worth it, let her have her fun. Trevor’s a big boy, he can handle himself.

“Maybe some other time Rachel, I’m quite comfortable here,” Trevor replied with a smile. Angel chuckled and waved her fingers at Rachel, letting her know that her time in our presence was over.

Rachel tapped her pink patent leather shoe on the tile floor and puckered her lips, “Yeah, maybe some other time.” She rolled her eyes and returned to her table, with her two little friends following right behind her.

I breathe out and let myself relax, not letting old pent up emotions get to me. “That was Rachel,” Angel said, “We don’t talk to hateful bitches like her. It’s best if you keep your distance.” She gives me a reassuring smile which I return. “But you’re welcome to sit here whenever you need to avoid psychos like her.”

“Noted,” Trevor laughs, sending chills up my spine. My stomach churned, feeling cold and warm, I shook my head and tried to rid myself of the unsettling feeling that suddenly appeared when Trevor laughed. Lunch continued with the typical bickering, yelling, and laughing from my friends. Once we were done with lunch everyone parted their ways and went to their boarding rooms or down to the library to study.

Angel and I returned to our dorm, when I enter the cold room I drop my bag near my study desk and flop on my bed, almost hitting my head against the wall. I start to close my eyes to take a nap from the long exhausting day, but Angel interrupts my relaxation and sits at the edge of my bed.

I open my eye and glare at her, she knows I need my after school naps. “Don’t you think that new kid is kind of cute?” Angel says as she takes off her shoes. She throws them to her side of the room and lays down next to me.

“Of course he’s cute, doesn’t mean I’m going to fawn over him like every other girl in the school has.” I roll my eyes and I continue to look up at the ceiling.

I see as Angel puts up her hands in a defensive manner out of the corner of my eye, “Just asking, I know you’re not into boys and relationships like that since last year. But you know who finds you even more cute than how cute Trevor is? Gavin.” One of the main reasons I pushed Gavin away was because of his massive childhood crush he’s always had on me. I didn’t want to lay my huge relationship issues on him when I knew he was the one that wanted me

I groan and sit up in my bed, I start to take my dark hair out of its ponytail and ruffle my fingers between the S-shaped curls. “I know, you remind me everyday. I’m just not interested in Gavin as much as he is me. I don’t see him like that, he’s like a teddy bear. A big brother cuddly teddy bear.” I scrunch my nose up in disgust, Gavin had always been more of a brother to me, but he always saw me as much more.

“You just put the guy in the friend zone. Ouch, hope he doesn't take it too harshly.”

I laugh, “Gavin knows that I see him as a brother.”

“Well he must be into incest because all he can think about you two getting it on,” I gag and laughs again at Angel. We hear a knock on the door and the handle jiggle, it was the familiar greeting of one of our friends trying to get in the room. They always thought we left our door open for them, as if we catered to their every need.

I stood up from my bed and rush to open the door. As soon as I open it Xavier and Gavin rush in, speak of the devil. “You won’t believe who I’m rooming with this year,” Gavin says, entering my room before I invited the two in, and leaning against my computer desk.

I push his butt off with my foot and roll out the chair for him to sit on, “Let me guess,” I say, “It’s Xavier again and you’re going to complain all year about his stinky socks.” Angel laughs as she sits up on my bed, out the corner of my eye I see Xavier famously flip me off. “Or maybe it’s Jameson and you’re going to be annoyed by him watching Drag and singing musical tunes all day.”

Boys were never good roommates, I didn’t understand how they lived with each other. I was just glad I didn’t have to live with any of them. Gavin rolls his eyes and spins in the chair a little, “No, it’s Trevor, the new kid.”

“What’s wrong with that?” Angel asks, “seems ten times better than rooming with Xavier and his stinky socks.”

“Again, I’m sitting right here guys,” Xavier says, pushing Angel lightly. Angel laughs and kisses Xavier on the shoulder. She looks up at him lovingly as he rolls his eyes and puts his arm over her shoulders.

“Of course it’s better than rooming with him. I just don’t want to room with the new kid is all, I barely know him. What if he tries to kill me in my sleep?” Gavin was more dramatic than the girls and Jameson combined in our group. Sometimes it was impossible to take him seriously.

I sigh and sit on my bed with Xavier and Angel, “Well, his name is Trevor, not new kid. You’re being too dramatic Gav, he’s not going to kill you in your sleep. My mom knows better than to room you with someone that’ll try to kill you. Anyway, he should be more afraid of you, with your giant football jock arms.”

Gavin rolled his eyes again, I swear if he did that one more time his eyes would pop right out of his head. “Whatever, I’m ordering pizza. It’s our annual first week of school pig out fest.”

“We just ate not even an hour ago,” Angel said, standing up from my bed and giving Gavin her phone to order the food. “Besides, everyday is like some type of feast for you guys. You two eat like pigs.”

Xavier lays on my bed and starts to toss one of my stuffed animals in the air. Angel starts to yell at Xavier for putting his dark greasy hair on my light colored sheets. Gavin orders pizza while I text the others to meet in my room shortly for pizza and movies. I smiled to myself that my friends are one thing I could count on, even though high school is ending soon I knew that would not be the end of our friendship.

At least one part of my life isn’t constantly imploding, but perhaps I spoke too soon.


My friends and I were chowing down on the usual popcorn and pizza combination, watching horror movies. It was a tight squeeze into my tiny dorm room with all seven of us, I squished on a small spot on my bed with Emma and Julie while Xavier and Angel were on her bed, Jameson and Gavin laid on the floor and looked up at the small television prompted between our desks.

The movie ended and I sat up straighter against my wall, picking up the remote to look through what we could watch next.

“Can I open my eyes now?” Jameson called from below me with a shaky voice, I laughed as everyone called out approvals. “Good, can we please choose something less grotesque? I don’t think I could handle another minute of some scary killer chasing a dumb girl.”

I groaned, horror was my favorite genre, it was hard to keep my attention locked on something else. “How about a thriller?” I suggested, “No gore, no scariness, just the simplicity of a cheap thrill.” Jameson groaned but reluctantly agreed. I smiled as I scrolled through the thriller section.

Emma sat up from her spot in my bed, grabbing one of the last slices of pizza, “Guys, I think we should have invited Trevor.” Wondering where that idea came from I stopped scrolling and gave Emma a puzzling look.

“No!” Gavin and I quickly shouted. I shook my head and refocused on looking through movie titles, why did I suddenly not want to be around Trevor? Oh right, because he made the hair on the back of my neck stand up and I strangely felt uneasy around him.

Emma gave Gavin a questioning look. “He’s not apart of the group, and he’s weird. He has Billie Holiday posters all over our room,” Gavin said.

“He’s gay?” Jameson yelled excitedly. He always mentioned how it was hard to find a good same sex relationship in boarding schools. But I did not catch that vibe from Trevor.

Emma thumped Jameson on the back of his head, “Not likely, Jamie. Just because someone appreciates good music does not make them gay,” she leaned back on the bed and sighed. “He’s a new kid, he doesn’t know anyone. He’s probably feeling really lonely right now and doesn’t have many friends. Besides, we can make him part of the group.” Everyone besides Gavin and I nodded in agreement. “Then it’s settled! Come on Gavin, were going to retrieve Trevor!” Emma leaped from my bed and dragged Gavin to his feet.

Gavin groaned in protest but followed the beautiful blonde out my room, leaving the door cracked slightly. I threw the small remote at Angel, urging her to pick the next title. I pulled my hair out of its messy bun, fingering through the tight curls that appeared after taking a shower and washing it. I smoothed down my hair and put it in a better, more attractive, effortless bun. I tried hard to make it look like I didn’t care about my appearance, however I looked down at my pajamas and straightened out my shirt as much as I could.

I sighed, why did I care how I looked? I didn’t need a boyfriend, much less someone who I completely knew nothing about. I loosened the bun on my head and leaned against my elbow on the bed.

Soon Emma burst through the door, yapping away as usual, with Gavin and Trevor quickly behind her. “Not to worry, we hardly ever watch romance movies, unless it's a good old fashioned classic. Here, you can take my seat on the bed so your not craning your neck to see the movie on the floor.” I gave Emma and hard look, scooting way over to make room for Trevor, Julie stayed in her spot at the foot of the bed, with her feet prompted on a chair and her upper body leaning at the edge.

“Trevor,” Angel called from her bed, he turned to her, “what’s your favorite movie?” She asked, having difficulty choosing what to watch.

Trevor thought a while and quietly said, “Frankenstein.” Angel smiled and typed in the movie, putting it on.

Jameson groaned from below me, “Not scary, but still slightly frightening at the thought that some crazy scientist can make something that horrific thing come to life.”

Trevor laughed, causing the bed to shake and flutter in my stomach to occur, “The Creature only wanted to be cared for and loved. It was the scientist, Frankenstein, who was the real monster of it all.”

Jameson scoffed, “Either way I’d rather watch romance.” He rolled his eyes and turned to catch a look at Emma, who smiled back at him. As the movie started Emma and Jameson quietly argued over if there was a bit of romance involved in the movie.

I looked over at Trevor as he sat stiffly on my bed, “You can lean back and get comfortable, take off your shoes, lay down, whatever you’d like.” I told him, making sure he was comfortable, but more so that he didn’t make me uncomfortable as he sat straight backed and delicately at the edge of my bed.

Trevor started to slip his sneakers off and put them on the floor by my bed, leaning his back on the wall next to me, but still keeping his distance as there was room for another person to squeeze between us.

“Just keep the shoes on if your feet stink, we don’t want another stinky boy in the room,” Angel said, looking down at her boyfriend who was laying his head in her lap. We all laughed as Xavier defended himself.

The laughter died down as the movie started to get interesting. Trevor gets comfortable in my bed, barely touching my skin. I can feel the nervous tingle that he gives off, the deep flutter of my stomach. I shift in my bed, trying to get comfortable and ignoring the nerves I felt around Trevor.